To Blog, or Not To Blog

Colored craft sticks forming the word "BLOG" against a dark background pose the question: To Blog or Not To Blog.

There are several factors for a law firm to consider before taking on the time and money commitments of a successful blog. These include:

What are the firm’s goals for its blog?

It’s important to have a clear understanding of the firm’s goals in making this investment.

1)” ” ”  For some firms, getting a high search result in search engine results is their primary goal. For example, if a potential client searches for “jury selection” and the blog appears in the first few results of that Google search (or Yahoo or MSN or Ask or AOL), then that alone is considered” a big success for” some firms.

These firms provide information and analysis to drive traffic to their blog,” encouraging contact” as well as” name recognition for the firm. Posts are heavy in word count and substantive content, and publish periodically (weekly, bi-weekly).

2)” ” ” For other firms, getting a growing dialogue and community for their blog is important, too. ” For these organizations, the blog should build communication between the blog and its readership. They’ll be looking for lots of returning readers, lots of discussion in the comments section, lots of blogs cross-linking to their blog, etc.

These firms seek to use the blog as a tool for social networking via the web, with a focus upon relationship-building. For this purpose, blog posts are usually short, often contain opinion and commentary, and publish continually (daily, 3/wk, etc.).

Can you do both?

Yes. PaperStreet has achieved great success in meeting the informational/search engine results goal (top 5), often within 90 days of a blog’s first publication. However, an intense and long-term commitment by the firm itself is needed to achieve the second goal. Attorneys must be willing to check the comments and reply promptly on the firm’s blog, as well as writing comments on other blogs, cross-linking with other blogs/sites/etc., to create a successful networking result.

Who’s the intended reader?

If the blog is to be a marketing tool for the firm, then the intended reader(s) must be defined. ” ” Are you targeting potential clients? Referring attorneys?”  Are you seeking to build the firm’s reputation as an expert in one or more fields?

1)” ” ” ” ”  If your goal is to reach potential clients, then the blog posts need to include vocabulary that is not legalistic and the topics need to involve issues for which potential clients will be searching the web. For example, a potential client will not surf for “testamentary capacity” or “tortious interference,” but they may surf for “will contest” or “driving drunk.”

2)” ” ” ” ”  If your goal is to get other lawyers to read your blog, then how are you going to draw them into a regular read?”  Lawyers are busy; your blog will need to be different from your competition, be informative and well-written, as well as having a dependable posting schedule.

3)” ” ” ” ”  If your goal is to advance the firm’s reputation as a specialist in one or more fields, then what readership will help advance that goal?”  Are you seeking Fortune 500 CEOs to be your readers?”  If so, your posts need to be heavy in industry-standard terminology that these readers will commonly use – using banking jargon for financial industry readers, etc. It will also be important to post on current events, especially if a news story hits that is critically important to your professional readership.

How long is the commitment?

Blogs need time to get their online footing. Conservatively, blogging strategies should be implemented, and reviewed, in quarterly intervals.

Writing blog posts can be very time-consuming or not, it all depends on the target audience and goals. PaperStreet provides blog-writing services, in a variety of blogging packages. These packages incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.

PaperStreet services work well for all types of blogging other than its networking function. Our company cannot build relationships for you – just as you would not send a substitute in your place to a traditional networking function (bar association cocktail hour, etc.). We recommend calendaring 1-2 hours per week to review the blog and respond to comments;”  add your comments to other blogs (lawyer commentary on news stories in the local daily newspaper, including the blog’s link, is very productive); and writing short posts on personal topics.

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